Board Places Levy on May 7 Ballot, Approves $1.6 Million in Cuts

To comply with a mandate from the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of School Finance to submit a written plan to eliminate its projected deficit, the Nordonia Hills City School District Board of Education took several steps Monday to increase revenue and reduce spending.

Increasing Revenue

To increase revenue, the board unanimously approved placing a 6.98 mill operating levy on the May 7 ballot. According to award-winning Treasurer/CFO Karen Obratil, the continuing operating levy will raise just over $7 million dollars annually, with collection beginning in January, 2020. A similar levy failed last November by 685 votes.

The Board also unanimously approved an increase in pay-to-participate fees for athletics and other extracurricular activities. Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, students participating in high school athletics will pay $280 per sport, up from the current $230 fee. Fees for band in grades 6-12, choir in grades 7-12, and middle school athletics will also increase about 20 percent per activity. Mrs. Obratil projects nearly a $50,000 revenue increase with these changes.

In addition, the Board unanimously approved an increase to tuition for all-day kindergarten, from $2,200 to $2,700 per year. Under state law, discounts are available for those families who qualify for free or reduced price lunches. Mrs. Obratil projects nearly a $80,000 revenue increase with this change.

Reducing Spending

To reduce spending, the Board unanimously approved reductions that would save a projected $1.6 million in FY20. The reductions will eliminate 38 jobs district wide, most through layoffs, with a small portion through attrition. These reductions would all become effective at the start of the 2019-20 school year.

Click on this link to view the Nordonia Schools Spending Reduction Plan 

The reductions do not eliminate any current programs offered by the district. However, the reductions will cause class sizes to increase in the elementary buildings and high school; will eliminate busing eligibility for more than 2,300 students; and will scale back aide help to special education teachers across the district.

The largest savings is realized by going to state minimum transportation. Under state minimums, high school transportation will be eliminated (including for private school students), and students in grades K-8 will qualify for transportation only if they live two or more miles away from school.

If Levy Passes

If the May 7 levy passes, busing will stay as it currently is, available for all students in grades K-12 living one mile or more from school. The reduction of the ELL teacher (formerly English as a Second Language) will be permanent due to decreasing enrollment with that student population, from a high of 77 students in 2014-15 to only 34 students in 2018-19. These students’ native languages include Gujarati, Punjabi, Korean, Romanian, Portuguese, Chinese, Swahili, Spanish, Bengali, Nepali, Armenian/Russian, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Arabic.

Also, a pay freeze for the district’s 26 administrators, supervisors and exempt secretaries will remain in place for 2019-20 regardless of the outcome of the levy. All other reductions will be analyzed over the summer and restored as deemed appropriate and necessary.

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